Faith at Work LXXXI

April 2011

For our third beatitude: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” [Matthew 5:5], we need to pause and explore the original meaning of the term “meek”. It is used today for someone who won’t stand up for him/herself or for a matter of principle, but Matthew would have meant someone rather different. The Greek word suggests finding an appropriate and robust response to a situation, being authentic and in line with God’s will; it’s not easy to find a good English word that captures all of that, but if you think of Nelson Mandela or Barack Obama as having a sense of what is right, expressing a vision of how to achieve it and approaching it with due humility, you begin to get close to what Jesus meant.

I’m reading “Chocolate Wars” at the moment, a book by Deborah Cadbury that was published last year and traces the development of the delectable products that we know and love today. “Not during Lent though”, I hear you say. Some of you will be studying this in a lot more depth, so it’ll be interesting to hear what you have to say about the untimely opening of a chocolate store and the questions that arise for us as we struggle with our Lenten disciplines. It seems to me that doing without something like chocolate is only one part of a possible deal – there needs to be something on the other side of the equation, like giving a similar amount to the hungry. An alternate journey through Lent might be taking on something extra, reading or joining a house group for example.

Taking on a specific routine through Lent is helpful in reminding us of who we are as well as who we relate to both here and in the heavenly realm. The story of the Cadbury brothers moving out from the centre of Birmingham to a new site by the Bourn brook is truly inspirational. As well as seeking a market for their product, they were keen to produce a good working environment and to build homes at the new village of Bournville for their workers. Compare it if you like with the story Jesus told about the labourers in the vineyard [Matthew 20:1-16], paying the last to be hired as much as the first. I was stopped and asked about that very story on the shop floor a couple of years ago, when so much talk was on job security; it’s reverted now to the going rate for the job again – how refreshing to hear another model of working where managers, workers and customers all have an interest in the common good (big society?).

So let us pray using this year’s Lent course prayer from Paula Gooder:

God of all comfort, transform us by your Spirit
to be the people you have called us to be,
spreading your love and proclaiming
your presence throughout the world.
We ask this though your son,
our saviour Jesus Christ

This site was developed to contain work by Mike Fox relating to the WMMTC course
and subsequent experience during ministry in the parish of Codsall and the BCUIM.
This page was last updated on 2011-03-02

Copyright © 2011 Mike Fox
All Rights Reserved